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Bassa Sowei Helmet Mask, Liberia #983
- Bassa Sowei Helmet Mask, Liberia #983
- A Bassa Sowei Helmet Mask, Liberia, a beautiful old mask, carved from light wood with a blackened surface, surmounted by a Kalao Bird (Hornbill), abrasions at the nose and the rim, several metal brackets indicate old, authentic repairs.
- The Bassa Initiation Rite for young Women is the only known Masquerade tradition where the Mask-wearers are Female.
- Sowei refers most specifically to Medicine—the kind of Medicine that Female Healers / Herbalists utilize. Embodied in this idea of Medicine is a Spiritual Force. The Mask, when danced, is a Visual Expression of this Spirit. The term also refers to the Custodian of the Medicine — a Sande Official. - S. Brooklyn Museum, smarthistory/bundu-sowei-helkmet.mask by Dr. Peri Klemm and Dr. Steven Zucker.
- Measurements: Height, 42 cm
- Condition: Good
- The Bassa People are a West African Ethnic Group primarily indigenous to Liberia. The Bassa People are a subgroup of the larger Kru People of Liberia and Côte d'Ivoire. In Liberia's capital of Monrovia, Bassa are the largest Ethnic Group.
The Bassa People are from Western Sudan and later migrated to and lived in coastal West Africa and other parts including Liberia, Sierra Leone, Togo and Nigeria, Senegal while others settled in Central African region of Cameroon and Congo. Geographically separated groups evolved their separate culture, language and society.
- The traditional Religion of the Bassa People has a moral and ethical foundation, one that reveres Ancestors and Supernatural Spirits. Christianity arrived among the Bassa People during the colonial era, and the first Bible was translated into Bassa language in 1922. The adoption process fused the idea of Christian God with their traditional idea of a Supreme Being and Powerful First Ancestor who is merciful and yet vengeful, rewarding the good and punishing the bad. The traditional Religion has included Secret Rites of Passage, such as the Sande Society.